Archive for the ‘gadgets’ Category

Nokia N900

February 3, 2010 Leave a comment

Are you as excited about the Nokia N900 as I am? I wasn’t blown away by the hardware form factor, but the more I play with the device the more impressed I get. This is actually saying quite a bit considering the N900 firmware I am using is not the final shipping firmware either. I am pretty sure I will be ordering my own N900 before I have to send back this evaluation unit. Have you had a chance to peruse the Nokia N900 User Guide online? I see that the links to it are now dead, but you can find it here if you want it. I don’t usually read many of these guides, but I am finding some real treasures in there and plan to share them with you in case you want to skip reading the guide and just here about some of the great things I have found in there. 
]Notification light colors
The notification light found on the front of the N900 (upper left corner) changes colors to indicate different states. As stated in the User Guide:

  • Blue is for application triggered notifications (received text, IM, or email)
  • Orange is for battery charging
  • Green is for battery full

You can also go into Settings>Notification light to select when to use the notification light. Turning it off should save you some battery life too.

Keyboard shortcuts

IMHO, keyboard shortcuts are needed on QWERTY keyboard devices to help justify the compromise in size of the device and the N900 has a few shortcuts that you may find useful. Did you notice in my photos that there is a real Ctrl key on the N900? Kudos to Nokia for including this since so many times we see this missing from QWERTY keyboard devices. Here are some shortcuts found in the User Guide: General

  • Ctrl + Backspace: From within an application this will take you back out to the visual task manager. (Thanks to Chanse for that one.)
  • Ctrl + C: Copy text
  • Ctrl + V: Paste text
  • Ctrl + X: Cut text
  • Ctrl + A: Select all
  • Ctrl + O: Open (if available)
  • Ctrl + N: Create a new item (if available)
  • Ctrl + S: Save (if available)
  • Ctrl + Z: Undo (if available)
  • Ctrl + Y: Redo (if available)
  • Ctrl + F: Open search bar (if available)
  • Ctrl + Right arrow: Move the insertion point to the end of the word
  • Ctrl + Left arrow: Move the insertion point to the beginning of the word

These are all great Matt, but how the heck do I select text in the first place? You can use the shift key (far left) and the directional arrows on the keyboard to select text. Or you can use the stylus and double tap for a word or triple tap for all words in a document to select. Web browser

  • Ctrl + N: Open a new window
  • Ctrl + R: Reload the current page
  • Ctrl + B: Open a bookmark
  • Ctrl + D: Add a bookmark[


  • Ctrl + Enter: Send a message
  • Ctrl + R: Reply to a message

RSS Reader

  • Ctrl + R: Refresh the feed


  • Ctrl + Shift + P: Capture a screenshot. Warm up those fingers first to try this out. (Thanks Nokia Experts reader Matti for the tip.)

Miscellaneous tips

Circle zooming: I found that a double tap on text in the web browser zooms you into that text and reflows it for the display. However, I also found you can spin your finger clockwise on the display to zoom in or counterclockwise to zoom out through multiple zoom levels. I plan to show this in a video soon so you can understand what I am talking about here, but it is pretty slick. Browser history swipe: You can quickly view your browser history (virtual history supported) by simply swiping your finger from the right off outside the viewable display to the left onto the display.
Smart dialing with QWERTY: The N900 supports smart dialing with the QWERTY keyboard so you can simply start entering a person’s name on the keyboard and have your Contacts filtered to that name. You then simply tap the selected contact you can interact with them how you desire (call, text, Skype, email, etc.).
Make a call from Conversations: You can tap and hold on a text message conversation to see a pop-up appear so you can initiate a call with your contact.
Use Nokia Maps without data connection: Just like Nokia Maps for S60 devices you can load up maps into memory and use Nokia Maps and your GPS without a data connection when traveling.
There is a TON more in the User Guide and I’ll bring you more as I discover it and as I discover things from testing and trials with the device itself.
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Categories: gadgets

Blackberry Battle – The Blackberry Pearl Vs. the Blackberry 8800

January 22, 2010 Leave a comment

So you’re in the market for a smartphone, and you’ve finally decided to take the plunge, and you’re down to two fine offerings: the Blackberry Pearl, or the newer, slimmer, Blackberry 8800. Which one will suit your needs and personality best? A quick comparison will tell the tale.
The Blackberry Basics
First impressions are often the most important, and at a glance, these two Blackberries are quite similar. Both the Blackberry Pearl and the Blackberry 8800 feature the distinctive RIM Blackberry candy-bar design, with smooth, rounded edges and chrome accents. The Blackberry Pearl is slightly narrower than the 8800, although the Blackberry 8800 has a slightly slimmer profile. Both smartphones are outfitted with a keyboard, although the 8800’s is a full-sized QWERTY keyboard, compared to the Pearl’s truncated (but fully functional) SureType keyboard. Both feature a 240 x 260 pixel, 65,000 color display and the new Blackberry trackball navigation (as compared to the jog dial of older Blackberry models).
The Blackberry Pearl: Superior Messaging, Superior Style
Both the Blackberry 8800 and the Blackberry Pearl feature mobile web browsing, with full HTML and one-touch access, as well as multimedia messaging (with an optional add-on plan). Text / SMS messaging and email are also fully supported on both Blackberries. The Blackberry 8800 features RIM’s trademark “push” real-time email, and has the ability to integrate with up to ten POP, IMAP, or SMTP accounts. As far as instant messaging is concerned, the Blackberry 8800 comes with Blackberry Messenger, whereas the Pearl adds Yahoo! Messenger and Google Talk pre-loaded with the smartphone. If you’re a heavy user of Google Talk or Yahoo! Messenger, this gives the Blackberry Pearl a definite edge. The Blackberry Pearl also wins on style points, as it comes in several distinctive colors, including black, white, and a vibrant red.
The GPS Advantage: Blackberry 8800
In terms of office capabilities, both the Blackberry Pearl and the Blackberry 8800 can open Word and Excel documents, PDFs, and PowerPoint presentations that are attached to emails. Both cell phones come with full Bluetooth hands-free support and are data-capable, meaning either cell phone can be used as a wireless modem.
Now that we’ve firmly established that these two Blackberries have plenty in common, let’s talk about where they part ways. The Blackberry Pearl’s most immediate advantage over the 8800 would have to be the built-in digital camera. The Pearl’s built-in camera phone is 1.3 megapixels, with a 1280 x 1040 maximum resolution, built-in flash, and 5x digital zoom.
However, the Pearl lacks a built-in GPS solution, which is where the Blackberry 8800 really shines. While the Blackberry Pearl can be made GPS-capable with a separate TeleNav GPS receiver, the Blackberry 8800 comes with integrated GPS built into the smartphone. The 8800 requires no extra equipment — only access to a location-based service like TeleNav GPS Navigator. The Blackberry 8800 also features color maps and text or voice-guided driving directions right on the cell phone, making it invaluable for travelers. (The service does cost extra, $9.99 a month or $5.99 for 10 trips.)
If you’re planning on using your Blackberry to listen to music, you’ll find either model will suit your needs. The Blackberry 8800 and the Blackberry Pearl both play music and video files, supporting MPEG4, H.263 video formats and MP3 and AAC (iTunes Music Store) formats. Note that while the 8800 will play video files, it can’t actually capture any; if you want to watch video on your Blackberry, you can use a MicroSD memory card or USB 2.0 to transfer files to it.
The Smart(phone) Choice
Plainly, both Blackberries have plenty to offer the business or casual user. The Blackberry Pearl’s inclusion of a digital camera does aim it slightly more towards everyday use, while the Blackberry 8800’s GPS capabilities make it the perfect choice for someone who’s on the road a great deal. The Blackberry 8800 is also ideal if your workplace prohibits the use of camera phones. With the rich features available on both models, however, both are excellent choices.
Daniel Swensen is a freelance writer who covers websites like Wirefly.

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Categories: BlackBerry, gadgets